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The Persistence of Dance: Book Launch

18 July 2024
6.00pm – 7.30pm AEST
Io Myers Studio, Esme Timbery Creative Practice Lab

Please join Associate Professor Erin Brannigan in conversation with artists Matthew Day, Victoria Hunt, and Dr. Clare Britton (UNSW School of Arts and Media) to launch Erin’s book, The Persistence of Dance: Choreography as Concept and Material in Contemporary Art (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2023). The evening will be hosted by Dr. Bryoni Trezise.

The Persistence of Dance: Choreography and Contemporary Art 1990s-2020s is the second of two monographs by Erin on dance and the visual arts, the first being Choreography, Visual Art, and Experimental Composition 1950s-1970s (London: Routledge, 2022). The Persistence of Dance seeks to understand a new field of intermedial creative work that has garnered attention from our major art institutions, changed the way that dance circulates in cultural economies, and become an exemplar of post-disciplinary art. This work is distinct from contemporary dance presented on the stage that has its lineage in theatre and ballet, and is rather contemporary choreography where the central preoccupations and conditions correspond to those driving the broader contemporary arts: dance as contemporary art medium. Such dance-based works have found their way into visual arts contexts through a lineage including choreographers such as Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer. This work, currently exemplified in the case studies in the book (Meg Stuart, Sarah Michelson, Maria Hassabi, Shelley Lasica, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Adam Linder, Boris Charmatz and Latai Taumoepeau), is neither subsumed into the logic of the visual arts from its outside nor an invention from within. Rather, the book argues for the crucial role such work has played within broader aesthetic developments in the arts since the mid-twentieth century, and its position today as a distinct permutation of art categories such as the post-conceptual and post-disciplinary in the contemporary situation.



Photo Credit for Book Cover: Sarah Michelson, Devotion Study #1—The American Dancer, February 26, 2012 at 2012 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photograph © Paula Court
A picture of Associate Professor Erin Brannigan in front of a lemon tree.

Erin Brannigan

Associate Professor

Erin Brannigan is Associate Professor in Theatre and Performance at the University of New South Wales. She is of Irish and Danish political exile, convict, and settler descent. Her publications include Dancefilm: Choreography and the Moving Image (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), Bodies of Thought: 12 Australian Choreographers, co-edited with Virginia Baxter (Kent Town: Wakefield Press, 2014), Choreography, Visual Art and Experimental Composition 1950s -1970s (London: Routledge, 2022) and The Persistence of Dance: Choreography as Concept and Material in Contemporary Art (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2023).

Clare Britton holding a camera in nature

Clare Britton

Living on Bidjigal Land, Clare Britton is an artist interested in how images and landscapes hold stories. Informed by her work in live performance, Clare's visual art practice includes installation, site-specific art and writing. Clare's PhD, A Week on the Cooks River, was completed at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney (2020) and her work as a part of performance collective My Darling Patricia (2004-14) informs her approach. Clare lectures and researches at the Esme Timbrey Creative Practice Lab, UNSW and works as a part of Magnetic Topographies with artists Therese Keogh and Kenzee Patterson. Her work has attracted awards for sculpture, performance, design & research and toured in Australia and Internationally.

victoria hunt

Victoria Hunt

Born on Kombumerri Country (Surfers Paradise), Victoria Hunt currently lives on Bidjigal Country, Eora (Sydney, Australia). Her ancestral affiliations are Te Arawa, Rongowhaakata, Kahungunu Māori, Irish, English, Finnish. She works across the visual and performing arts as a dancer, director, choreographer, dramaturg, photographer, and filmmaker. Victoria delves into Indigenous epistemologies within diasporic concepts of identity formation and belonging. Her work is liminal, trans-cultural, trans-disciplinary and reinstates the power of Indigenous creativity within the politics of Rematriation – inserting the body into frameworks of power, for future ancestors. Her work is a gradual binding of intimate collaboration between artists, Elders and communities.

In 2000 Victoria became a founding member of Australia’s leading Body Weather dance company De Quincey Co. and has performed in over 50 productions. She is co-founder of the Weather Beings a 2Spirit performance collaborative established with Métis artist Moe Clark, based in tio’tia:ke / Montréal, Canada.

Matthew Day

Matthew Day

Choreographer | Designer | Performer

Matthew Day (1979) is interested in the potential of choreography to negotiate unorthodox relationships and propose new ways of being human. Utilizing a minimalist approach, he often works with duration and repetition, approaching the body as a site of infinite potential, and choreography as a field of energetic intensity and exchange.

Raised in Sydney, Day was a teenage ballroom dancing champion. He studied Dance and Performance Studies in Sydney and Melbourne (2003-2005), before collaborating with students at the School for New Dance Development (SNDO) in Amsterdam (2006-2009). Day has been an artist in residence at Temperance Hall and presented his work extensively in Australia and Europe. He also undertook a Masters of Choreography at DAS in Amsterdam.

Dancers improvising movement

Intermedial Composition Network


The Intermedial Composition Network explores the creative practices of leading artists working in all media as a site of experiment, innovation, resilience and imagination. By intermedial composition we refer to the process of convergence across multiple art forms in the creative act, including the way in which compositional practices in one field might inform – and transform - those in another. This focus on intermediality within our collective both works with and against our post-disciplinary historical moment, honouring both discipline specificity and intermedial experimentation. Alongside practice, our members understand that insight into creative process is enhanced by interdisciplinary conversation, and that such insights reveal novel methods and outcomes and support their application to broader fields of social and cultural activity.